Second World War veteran celebrates turning 100 with surprise party

Michael Soloman celebrates turning 100 with his wife Pearl, 92.

Michael Soloman celebrates turning 100 with his wife Pearl, 92. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A former RAF aircraftsman who served in the Second World War has celebrated turning 100 with a surprise birthday party.

Michael Soloman has lived a remarkable life, devoting decades to serving his local town of Carlton Colville as a parish councillor for 40 years.

In 1987, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk Sir Joshua Rowley presented Mr Soloman an honouree BEM in recognition for his services as a devoted parish councillor and for his public service while he was an environmental officer with Waveney District Council.

Michael Soloman's son, Andrew Solomon, arranged a surprise party at Michael's care home with Michael's family and friends.

Michael Soloman's son, Andrew Solomon, arranged a surprise party at Michael's care home with Michael's family and friends. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr Soloman joined the RAF aged 18 as a trainee landing aircraftsman.

He said: "During the start of the second World War I was in southern Ireland, who were neutral, but soon we were sent to St Margaret's Bay in Dover and we knew we were in the war then as suddenly we were engaged in fierce shell fire with the enemy.

"The bay we were stationed at was known as 'Shell Fire Bay'. I saw good, brave men and friends of mine die.

"I soon grew up - I had no choice but to toughen up and quickly, but goodness it was sad and the memories will last forever."

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Mr Soloman was delighted to have received an honouree birthday congratulations letter from Her Majesty.

He said: "I was very proud to receive my birthday card from the Queen herself. I cannot fault her.

"She has been a fabulous queen and it gave me so much pride to serve her for much of my life, so it was very special to get a card from her."

Michael Soloman was delighted to receive his birthday card from the Queen after turning 100.

Michael Soloman was delighted to receive his birthday card from the Queen after turning 100. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr Soloman lived on his own until he was 98 but, after being hospitalised with COVID, he is now living at Windsor House Care Home in Lowestoft with his 92-year-old wife Pearl.

He said: "She is still giving me orders and keeping me on my toes, but I am very lucky."

Mr Soloman also had some words of advice for younger generations, and was full of thanks and gratitude to the love shown to him on his landmark birthday.

He said: "People always need to help one another, give back and work hard, sometimes even work for nothing for the greater good of everyone. It is all part of life.

"My tip for living so long is a large glass of whiskey and orange juice before bed.

"Any whiskey will do."